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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

October 2023 - Training, new IAM qualifications, new FireBike project, and a ride on a new R1300GS

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


Apparently October was one of the wettest on record, meaning some very wet riding days, but overall, another great month. here's what I got up to.

Training.

Up first was Gareth on his R1250GS. Gareth has done quite a bit of training with me over the last couple of years, and as a result has already completed the Enhanced Rider Scheme, and passed the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award test. His latest session was to specifically look at bends and corners and after a brief recap on IPSGA, the limit point and Roadcraft, it was out on the road, utilising comms to give on the move coaching. We took it in turns to give 'commentary', which allowed Gareth to know what I was seeing & planning from what he was, and him giving a commentary aided his own understanding of information gathering, positioning and approach speed and what the limit point was 'doing'. A great session, with all goals achieved.

Rob came down from Richmond on his Triumph Bobber to start his advanced 'journey'. Rob plans to complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme and then move on to other qualifications. The weather was very kind for his first session, but storm Babet meant his 2nd session has had to be rescheduled.

Glynn on his Honda VFR1200DCT has trained with me previously, and went on to pass both the RoSPA test and the IAM Masters, obtaining a Gold and Distinction respectively.

Glynn is now an IAM National Observer and wanted to continue his CPD, by improving his commentary technique. It was damp and misty when we started the day, but we persevered and ended the day in drying and bright conditions. Using two way comms we took it in turns to lead and give commentary, with regular stops to debrief each section. 110 miles covered and all aims for the day achieved.

Geoff on his Triumph 1050 Sport had two sessions in October. Geoff is an experienced rider, who already holds RoSPA and IAM qualifications and wanted a couple of 'pre test refreshers', as he will shortly be taking his retests for both organisations. We thought we were going get very wet on both his days, but despite the wet roads, we somehow managed to dodge any rain and the temperature even topped out at 16c! Result!

RoSPA Training.

I managed a few outings in October with my local RoSPA group in my capacity as an Advanced Tutor/Diploma holder. Here's a selection of those I trained with.

Associate Steve and his R1200GS. Steve has previously held advanced car qualifications and is now transferring those skills to his riding.

KTM 890 riding Bev is a RoSPA Tutor and her triennial retest is due in 2024, so she decided to have a bit of an end of year refresher. Cracking few hours, during which Bevs riding was to a very high standard, with only a small tweak needed here and there.

On another occasion I conducted a 'Tutor check' on Tutor Dave, whilst he conducted his training session with Associate Steve. The reason for these Tutor checks is to ensure the group Tutors are all delivering consistency in their knowledge and processes. Here's Tutor Dave (on the left) in discussion with Steve during a roadside debrief.

Good turn out for the end of the month training session, and who says advanced riders only ride BMWs....here's a Multistrada, Africa Twin and a Ninja 1000SX.......

Oh hang on.....R1250GS, K1600, 1200GS, 1250GS, 1250GS and my onw 1250 Adventure......

IAM Roadsmart qualifications.

On 1st October I met up with IAM Roadsmart Area Service Delivery Manager, (ASDM) Steve Ellis, who took me through the IAM National Observer Assessor qualification and also to oversee me requalifying as an IAM motorcycle Examiner and to take the Masters advanced bike test. As you can imagine, it was a very full on day! However, I'm pleased to say that I passed all assessments, which means I will be able to conduct IAM motorcycle tests and also National Observer assessments for both motorcycle Observers and car Observers, yes cars as well! Passing the Masters test, also means I will be a Masters Mentor (motorcycles only). Later in the month, the following certificates arrived, confirming my qualifications. Whilst I was reasonably confident of passing, you always have a 'what if' niggle in the back of your mind, so great to get everything done successfully and know that I have met the standard required by the IAM.

FireBike.

I am very pleased to announce that after a lot of form filling, checks and more checks, I have been accepted as a volunteer rider to join the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service FireBike road safety project team. FireBike was launched in 2022 and aims to reduce the number of accidents and injuries on the county’s roads by directly engaging with motorcyclists and other road users. The FireBike team is made up of volunteer personnel from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service who each bring expert knowledge of the emergency services alongside a passion for motorcycles and rider safety. The FireBikes will be a regular sight on the roads of North Yorkshire and will travel around key locations where bikers meet. Members of the FireBike team will actively engage with riders and other road users to promote road safety through education and training. The initiative operates alongside the already successful “BikeSafe” course run by the Police and the FireBike team will also be delivering “Biker Down” courses that are facilitated by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. FireBike has already proven to be popular and attended a number of events throughout 2022.

Andy Creasey, the FireBike project manager said: “Sadly, we deal with a number of road traffic collisions involving motorbikes each year. Many of these collisions involve serious injury or in the worst cases fatalities. My colleagues and I want to do everything we can to improve the safety on the the roads for everyone. Motorcyclists enjoy chatting with likeminded enthusiasts and FireBike will help us deliver positive messaging directly within the biker community.”

Here's one of the FireBikes that I'm really looking forward to getting out and about on and chatting to riders around the region, so if you see the bike at one of your favourite coffee stops, please come and have a chat.

Car refresher......4 wheels not 2!

In October, I decided it was time for a car refresher, as it's 4 years since I took my advanced car test and I now own a different car. I swapped my Skoda Karoq 1.0 manual for a Skoda Karoq Sportline, 1.5DGS around 18 months ago, and as it has been quite a few years since my last 'auto', I decided to make sure I'm driving it 'properly'! My local RoSPA group is a bike only group, so I contacted our neighbouring group, who hooked me up with RoSPA car Tutor Julian. I've known Julian for many years, we worked together previously and he is also a RoSPA advanced biker. Julian took me through a 3 hour refresher drive, which I found really enjoyable and at the end, I'm pleased to say he didn't have to give me too many pointers, so it was good to know that my driving is more or less where it should be. In all honesty, I'm glad we were in a car that day and not on our bikes, because the weather was truly horrendous!!

Debrief over a brew with East Yorkshire Advanced Drivers and Riders car Tutor Julian.

BMW R1300GS

Thanks to Kev at Barrie Robson BMW of York for giving me the opportunity to be one of the first people in the UK to ride the the new BMW R1300GS. This new bike has undergone a thorough make over, both in looks and style, with a new frame, engine, gearbox, suspension and boasting more tech, more power and less weight.

The extra power and less weight were immediately noticeable, with the bike being really responsive. The fuelling seemed spot on in any gear, at all speeds and the quick shifter was super smooth. BMW say the seat height hasn't changed but I could easily get both feet flat on the floor (I'm 5-11) which I can't normally do on a GS, so maybe the seat is slimmer? The foot pegs felt higher and further back, not excessively, but more 'sporty' than I remember on a GS. Switch gear is similar but different, with more menus to scroll through using the 'wonder wheel'. I liked the optional electric screen, and flicking between road and dynamic suspension gave a very noticeable difference to the ride. The panniers are completely different shape to the current model and you can opt for central locking. They still offer a 'vario' adjustment system so you can have them full width or slimmer. Riding the bike, the TFT and place for the sat nav are still like a GS. The bars felt 'flatter' and the seat to foot pegs shorter. Overall, it felt very familiar whilst still being different. **For clarity, I'm not buying one, I'm waiting for the GSA next year!**

MY BMW 1250GS Adventure.

Mileage this month - 1,153

Total mileage on the GSA - 9,807

Total mileage for the year so far - 19,807

Another month and another 1100 miles covered on my GSA, and despite riding the latest and greatest R1300GS, (see above) I continue to enjoy every mile on mine and the 1300 hasn't turned my head. Which is testament to how good the current 1250 is, a true do-it-all bike. As you can see from the figures above, I have almost completed 10,000 miles since getting the bike new in May, and my total for the year is going to pass the 20,000 mile mark. At the bikes current mileage, the bike is just over halfway for tyre wear and servicing, as we're now entering the winter period my mileage will reduce, meaning the bike shouldn't cost me anything from a maintenance point of view until we're into the new year at the earliest.

Well, that rounds off another month. Thanks for reading and ride safe.

Ian S



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